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Published on 10 October 2008

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Drug offers leukaemia patients hope

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A drug has been shown to prolong the life of patients with chronic leukaemia, according to a study.

The phase III trial looked at 552 patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). Lymphomas are cancers involving white blood cells called lymphocytes. Cancer occurs when these lymphocytes multiply in an uncontrolled way. This can cause a lump or tumour in the lymph nodes.

Rituximab works by attacking white blood cells called B cells, in a similar way to the natural antibodies produced by our immune system.

The study found that the use of MabThera, which has the active ingredient rituximab, in combination with chemotherapy, significantly improves the life expectancy of patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, healthcare firm Roche announced.

William Burns, CEO of pharmaceuticals division at Roche, said: “The positive results of the Reach study are very encouraging news for patients suffering from a disease that remains life-threatening and incurable.

“The outcome of this trial, together with the positive findings of the pivotal CLL8 trial in first-line CLL patients, clearly demonstrate the important role MabThera will have in the treatment of this devastating disease.”

Copyright PA Business 2008

Roche



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